Despite the moves made by the Philadelphia 76ers front office, the franchise still has a glaring hole at the point guard position.
Last offseason, I wrote about how the Philadelphia 76ers had questionable center depth behind Joel Embiid. General manager Elton Brand corrected that mistake by signing quality depth, but he failed to build legit point guard depth behind Ben Simmons.
Playmaking depth was a problem last season. Markelle Fultz never lived up to his draft hype as a number one overall pick before he went down with injury and was traded. T.J. McConnell was a great energy guy off the bench, but his limitations on both sides of the ball as a floor spacer and defender made it hard for him to stay on the court for long spurts.
In the playoffs, the Sixers had to turn to Jimmy Butler, a wing, to be second unit’s point guard. Overall, Philly’s lead guard depth was a mess this past season. All three of the players who took on the role as the backup playmaker are on different teams now and the 76ers have a new depth chart behind Simmons.
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Yet despite the changes made to at the position, Brand failed to make any significant improvement. There are two players that the Sixers have to absorb minutes at the reserve playmaking spot. Raul Neto is the player that is likely going to be the primary backup, as Christopher Kline Co-Site Expert of The Sixer Sense recently wrote. For this past season, Neto averaged 5.3 points and 2.5 assists, shooting 33.3 percent from the 3-point line.
Neto is a better floor spacer than McConnell is, but he’s not as good as a playmaker and similar level of defender. Neto is better for the 76ers in regards to floor spacing, but there’s certainly questions surrounding him including his injury history. Considering that Neto has averaged playing 49.8 games per season for his career, it’s uncertain if he can handle the responsibilities for a full season.
The other player that Philly has to fill out the depth at point guard is Shake Milton. Milton dominated as a shooting guard last season in the G-League. With the Sixers G-League affiliate the Delaware Blue Coats, he averaged 24.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists, while shooting 36.7 percent from downtown.
There’s no doubt that Milton has potential as a playmaker, but this NBA Summer League has proven thus far he’s nowhere close to being ready for that type of responsibility. In three games, he’s averaged 9.7 points, 4.3 assists and 3.3 turnovers, per RealGM. Milton isn’t ready for the point guard role on the team and Philly could be in trouble if they have to rely on him to run the offense this upcoming season.
Despite the overhaul of the point guard depth chart, the Philadelphia 76ers still have some major concerns at the position entering the season. Hopefully, Brand finds a way to forty the playmaking spot at some point in the near future.
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